If you’re wondering what to expect if you choose to earn an online psychology degree program, you should know that these programs have both differences and similarities to traditional academic programs. A distance-learning degree isn’t right for every student, but in many circumstances, it can make an education that was once out of reach become possible.

Academic Variety

Students of online psychology degree programs can expect plenty of academic variety. They commonly study courses such as abnormal psychology, positive psychology, developmental psychology, behavioral psychology, health psychology, addictive behaviors, industrial and organizational psychology, intercultural psychology and qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Many online psychology degree programs even allow students the opportunity to pursue a concentration or specialization. Popular concentrations that are commonly available in online psychology degree programs include applied psychology, consumer behavior, addiction studies, criminal justice, child and adolescent development and workplace psychology.

The Flexibility of Online Learning

One advantage students pursuing an online psychology degree program can expect is flexibility. Being able to study when and where it’s most convenient for you is a major reason why online education has become so popular.

Many online psychology programs are asynchronous, which means students don’t have to log on in accordance with a strict schedule, the way they would have to show up on specified days and times for an on-campus class. Instead, students have the flexibility to log into the virtual classroom when they want to – whether that means early morning before heading off to work or late at night, after putting the kids to bed.

Hands-On (In-Person) Experience Requirements

While some psychology programs are offered fully online, not every distance learning program is. Some, especially those that include clinical practicum requirements, may offer online courses but still require at least some in-person work on campus or at another location.

Courses that involve clinical work, including practicums, “are not considered appropriate” for online learning, the American Psychological Association – the accrediting body for doctoral programs in psychology – reported.

This means students of online psychology degree programs should expect the possibility that they may not be able to complete all of their degree requirements online. It’s important that they find out before enrolling in a program what kind of in-person commitments they may have to make, if any, so they can determine if a given program is the right choice for them.

A Versatile Degree

One reason psychology is such a popular major is that it prepares students for so many possible career paths. Few undergraduates who earn a psychology degree work in psychology. Their education provides them skills to work in such varied fields as advertising, real estate, career counseling and sales, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Students can expect an online psychology degree program to provide a flexible and versatile education that offers plenty of academic variety as well as the opportunity to gain some hands-on experience.

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